Troyes is a renaissance city in the south of Champagne, with streets of multicoloured half-timbered houses from the 1500s.
There may not be a prettier historic centre in all of France, and this is owing to a disaster.
Most of these brightly-painted houses are from right after a fire in 1524 when nearly all the city had to be rebuilt, so there’s a level of harmony that you can’t find anywhere else.
Be awestruck at one of Europe’s finest cathedrals and pass hours milling around old mansions that give you a window on everything about Troyes’ past, from its medieval healthcare to manual trades.
Lets explore the best things to do in Troyes:
1. Troyes Cathedral
Started in the 13th century and completed more than 400 years later, Troyes Cathedral is very harmonious inside and out despite being built in different eras.
The building is entirely gothic, and is treasured as one of the most beautiful churches, not just in France, but all of Europe.
What will strike you is the sense of space in the nave, which is at once powerful and full of grace.
Light pours in through more than 1,500 square metres of stained glass.
Some of these windows are as old as the 1200s.
The essential ones are the three huge roses, measuring ten metres across and with astoundingly intricate traceries designed by the renaissance architect Martin Chambiges.